January 24, 2018 |
Study Links Success in Adulthood to Childhood Psychiatric Health
November 5, 2015  | 
Durham, NC - Children with even mild or passing bouts of depression, anxiety and/or behavioral issues were more inclined to have serious problems that complicated their ability to lead successful lives as adults, according to research from Duke Medicine.

The Duke researchers found that children who had either a diagnosed psychiatric condition or a milder form that didn’t meet the full diagnostic criteria were six times more likely than those who had no psychiatric issues to have difficulties in adulthood, including criminal charges, addictions, early pregnancies, education failures, residential instability and problems getting or keeping a job.

“When it comes to key psychiatric problems -- depression, anxiety, behavior disorders -- there are successful interventions and prevention programs,” said lead author William Copeland, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke. “So we do have the tools to address these, but they aren’t implemented widely. The burden is then later seen in adulthood, when these problems become costly public health and social issues.”

Copeland and colleagues analyzed data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, which began nearly two decades ago and includes 1,420 participants from 11 North Carolina counties. The study is ongoing and has followed the participants from childhood through adulthood -- most are now in their 30s.

Among the study group, 26.2 percent met the criteria for depression, anxiety or a behavioral disorder in childhood; 31 percent had milder forms that were below the full threshold of a diagnosis; and 42.7 percent had no identified problems. Continue>

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